It's all in the name. This cooperative run & gun platformer is utterly outrageous in all the right ways, letting us control awesome homages to classic action movies and throwing us into massively destructible levels in the name of RIDICULOUS ACTION. BROchete? BRO Dredd? Indiana BROnes? Brade? BROdell Walker? The BROminator? They're all there, and more besides, all ready to make stuff explode in the most epic of ways.
As an example, Carl took down a helicopter with a katana. Not unlike a boss.
We'll bring you a more in-depth preview soon, but here's what happened when Carl and I got to grips with BROFORCE at EGX Rezzed. Forget professionalism, because we've got BROfessionalism. Which is just as good, except with 100% more high fives and naked from the waist up.
Platform: PC (reviewed, £14.99) | PS4 version incoming
Developer: Tribute Games
Mercenary Kings is amazing, but we already knew that months ago. Tribute's early access blasterpiece was worth buying since last summer and has only become more explosive, more ridiculous and... well, longer, since it first smashed onto our radar. Basically this review is just a formality.
Premise-wise, Mercenary Kings plunges straight into Saturday morning cartoon territory with a great big silly grin on its face. The evil CLAW organisation are up to no good on Mandragora island, so it's up to the best mercenaries in the world (the titular Kings) to kick down the doors, storm their fortresses and shoot henchman by the hundred. A perfect setup for a sidescrolling run & gun action platformer in the vein of Contra or Metal Slug, brought to life by the developers behind Scott Pilgrim's superb videogame tie-in. It's as nostalgic, tightly-designed, satisfying and gorgeous as you'd expect from the veteran retronauts at Tribute Games.
However, not content to stop there, Mercenary Kings also channels the persistent progression, upgrades, hunting and exploration of the Monster Hunter series; resulting in a shooter that's truly enormous and great for hours of play. If perhaps a little too grindy for its own good at times.Click here to read more...
Platform: XBLA (800 MSP)
Developer: Mommy's Best Games
When it comes right down to it, Serious Sam is all about big guns and an obscenely vast horde of bad guys to point them at. Croteam's irreverent series resonated with gamers sick of hand-holding and cumbersome exposition, instead focusing on outrageous action and the brutal joy of blasting entire armies into sticky smears on the scenery. "Serious" Sam Stone is a little like Duke Nukem in terms of his one-liners and hatred of all things extraterrestrial, but unlike the ageing playboy, he delivers on his promises.
So when it came to crunching Serious Sam down into an indie sidescroller, there was only one developer for the job. Mommy's Best Games.
Or more specifically, Nathan Fouts. The veteran weapons designer behind Resistance: Fall Of Man and Ratchet & Clank is a dab hand at crafting insanely imaginative boomsticks, and racked up plenty of experience in creating ridiculous shooters during his indie career. A skillset that led to the launch of Serious Sam: Double D back in summer 2011, which brought reckless indie innovation and teetering piles of raw firepower to to Croteam's crazy formula.
Nearly two years on, and a brand new director's cut has finally made to Xbox Live Arcade. We've got co-op. New levels. Insane weapon upgrades. Fireball-spewing mecha kittens. Unicycle rampages. Serious Sam: Double D XXL might not be subtle nor profound, but it's an extra large portion of unadulterated stupid awesome.
Click here to read more...
I was very excited about this one, the chance to romp around in Lewis Carroll's Wonderland was almost irresistible, plus the trailer had a dark edge that I really enjoyed. Unfortunately, whilst the game looks great and the combat's fairly good fun, it becomes a bit of a bore after a while. You can grab a PC copy of the game from one of the three merchants listed above for £24.99, which'll save you almost £2 on the next best offer coming in from GamersGate.
Developer: Spicy Horse
Here we go again. After literally murdering her own madness in the decade-old original, Alice's insanity has returned (hence the title) in the form of the menacing Infernal Train: a burning cathedral on wheels that's laying waste to the imaginary realms of Wonderland. Though a hypnotherapist is doing his best to help her forget the rogue memories, our heroine soon finds herself wandering the streets of London and periodically descending back into the twisted nightmare world between flash-forwards to reality. It's a decent enough premise for a reunion tour.
The visuals are the first thing you'll notice. Madness Returns looks absolutely gorgeous, which is partly due to atmospheric lighting and detailed texture work courtesy of the ever-reliable Unreal Engine. However, it's mainly testament to the consistent quality of the art direction. Wonderland is as bonkers as it is beautiful, and each thematic zone (such as deep blue ice fields or hellish industrial complexes) is packed with deeply surreal imagery, enemies and design elements. A preternatural sense of wrongness and horror underpins tragically innocent and childlike themes. It's a banquet for the senses, and regardless of where you point the camera, your eyes will pop and your mind will blow.
Once you've wrapped your brain around it, though, you'll realise that the surreal chicanery is just camouflage surrounding one of the most dull and conventional action-platformers to have released in recent years.
Click here to continue reading our Alice: Madness Returns review >>